Another volume of School Rumble is upon us, and it plays out much like the first two.
What They Say
One's a lonely number, two's company and three's a crowd... But this gang sucks at maths and lost count long ago! It's uncharted territory with chapter three of School Rumble, as the summer vacation heats up beach-style! We've got new players, new crushes...and NUDITY? (not quite, but close, real close)!
11. Naira! Karasumai! Harima!
12. Save Me I'm At The Beach, Save Me I'm Naked, Just Save Me For Real!
13. Mission 1: Confession Of Love!, Mission 2: Night Offense And Defence, Mission3: "Tweet"
14. Have You Ever Seen One?, Isn't She Cute?, I Look Forward To Getting To Know You!
I listened to the English stereo track for my main review, and I noticed no technical problems with it. It’s a pretty standard stereo mix, and since the show is mostly full of dialogue there’s not a great deal to say about it; the performances are generally very good and in fitting with the show. I also sampled the Japanese track, and had no problems with it. The Japanese voice actor performances are very enjoyable as well, with a great deal of energy to them.
The transfer for School Rumble is generally very good. There’s not a great deal of distinctive style to the show, but it is full of bright and vibrant colours and these mostly come across very well. Subtitles are in a nice yellow font, and I noticed no spelling or grammatical errors.
No packaging was provided with this review disc.
The main menu is static but features a great cast shot of all the girls in poses, with the selections and logos down the left of the screen, while some music plays. Sub-menus are all in a similar theme, but none have music playing over them. Access times are naturally fast since there are no transitions.
There are a couple of notable extras on this first volume. The two main draws are an interview with the Japanese voice actress for Akira, and another for the Japanese actress that plays Sara. Both are quite short, running just over five minutes each, and aim to be funny rather than a series of serious character questions, but they’re both enjoyable to watch. The other extra is the obligatory textless songs.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
If you’ve seen the first two volumes of School Rumble, you know entirely what to expect from this one. The style of the show doesn’t change – each episode being made up of a few skits that sometimes carry the story across an episode, and other times mixing up the characters and stories. The sense of humour doesn’t exactly vary either; it’s much the same deadpan style throughout and you are likely to either love it or hate it, and with a show like this you have to accept that is the nature of the beast.
This time around, the stories go off in a variety of directions. We see Tenma and her friends take a trip to the local pool for a bit of a splash, only for her friends to get hit on by three guys, and her left wanting in on the action. She does end up meeting a guy called Nara, who asks her out, but naturally she declines because of her feelings for Karasuma - even though he shows her little affection back. Eventually the boys challenge the girls to a swimming contest, and if they win they get a date with the girls... Unfortunately, none of the girls can swim!
Tenma does get her way with Karasuma in the end, at least to a degree, when he helps her out with his turtle outfit when it starts to rain. It’s not much, but it’s certainly something more than he’d been giving for a while. Later, everyone goes to the beach as planned, and several unruly incidents occur. The most notable is Harima, who managed to tag along, grabbing Eri in a fit of embarrassment and threatening her, creating some awkward tension between them for the rest of the time. Later Tenma tries to teach him how to say he loves the one he is besotted with, but since it’s her, he struggles to say much at all. Quite out of the blue, we also get some backstory from Hanai, which is welcome even if it feels a bit out of place at the time that it comes.
By the end of the disc, summer break is upon the students and the girls gather at Tenma’s house for some chat. Eri misunderstands some comments from Tenma that lead to an amusing exchange during which Eri thinks Tenma is much more experienced with guys than she is. But there’s also a bust-up between Mikoto and Eri, when Mikoto walks in on Eri telling Tenma that she’s not that pretty. There’s some long, awkward silence and plenty of arguing to go around at this point, before we randomly find out that Karen is surprisingly good at heavy lifting.
I actually quite enjoy watching School Rumble, even if at times the total randomness of some things aren’t as funny as they should be. The problem is that often it’s quite repetitive, and even if the jokes are different they often end up feeling the same anyway. It can be a bit tedious to watch this show all in one go, especially as the skits that aren’t that funny take a lot of the energy out of the show when it’s building up steam.
Of course, the other problem is simply that the show isn’t always as funny as it thinks it is. You can, at times, imagine the creators laughing at certain bits, but when they translate to the viewer they’re not quite so funny some of the time. For example, some of the stuff with Hanai and his obsession over Yakumo just doesn’t come off particularly great, but on the other hand seeing Harima grab Eri as if he’s about to kidnap her when she walks in on him going through underwear, or seeing the bitchy fight with Eri and Mikoto, are particularly funny because those characters are fun in their own way and the jokes translate well.
Once you accept that you’re unlikely to find everything funny, it’s easy to find a lot of fun in the show. Most of the characters have their own quirks and charms, from Tenma and Harima right down to the supporting cast like Eri, but one thing I would recommend is to not marathon the show, as then some of its faults, such as the repetitiveness, don’t stand out so much.
School Rumble doesn’t really change a great deal from volume to volume, it just dishes out more of the same humour and skits, some funny and some not so much. As with all comedies, it’s all subjective so your enjoyment hinges on how much you like the characters and how often you “get” the jokes. There’s some nice underlying character interactions as well, like Harima’s endless pursuit of Tenma, that keep the show chugging along even when interest wanes. While it’s not at the top of my list, School Rumble is certainly fun.
Japanese Language (2.0), English Language (2.0), Interview with Akira’s Japanese Voice Actress, Interview with Sara’s Japanese Voice Actress, Textless Songs
Samsung LE40M86 1080p HDTV, Philips DVP 5980 region free DVD player upscaling to 1080p via HDMI, Pioneer HTP-GS1 5.1 Surround Sound System.